Buying a condo, apartment, or house is not for everyone. For some people, it makes sense right away, others may not be ready for years – or ever for that matter! Buying a home is a big move and a decision that should not be made on a whim. Unlike with a new shirt, if you don’t like it you can’t just return it. You already know you don’t want the responsibility of owning a house but you want to have the feeling living & owning a home offers so maybe a condo is right for you!
You may be ready to purchase a condo if …
- You have a solid credit report and your debts are in check.
In order to get approved to purchase your new home, your credit score is going to be checked by whichever company you try to get a mortgage from. You don’t need perfect credit, but having a good score significantly helps you out with getting you a lower interest rate. Lenders also look at your debt to income ratio. As noted by BankRate.com, “the standard debt-to-income ratios are the housing expense ratio and the total debt-to-income ratio.” If your debt to income ratio is too high, you may not get approved for the mortgage you need to cover the cost of the condo you have your eye on.
- You have a solid job and know how to navigate a budget without getting stuck in dunes.
One of the joys of home owning … paying homeowners taxes. That’s an expense you never had to worry about when you were renting an apartment. If you are good with money and know how to save and not spend above your means, you may be ready to purchase a condo. You’ll need to be able to set money aside for taxes and possible expenses that should arise. If your washer breaks or refrigerator stops working, a trusty landlord won’t be around for fixing and eating those expenses. And, having a solid job that provides you with steady income is key. Condos typically cost less than houses which often means your taxes will be less but you will still need to budget accordingly.
- You have enough savings to cover a down payment and closing costs.
Typically putting down 20 percent of the home’s cost is recommended. There are instances in which you can put down less but then you are looking at higher monthly payments. Don’t forget to think about property taxes and moving expenses. More information can be found here at Homeowners Assistance.
- You understand the commitment it is to own your own place and you’re not scared of it.
Since buying a home is a long-term commitment, you have to ask yourself if you plan on planting roots in one spot for a decent amount of time. Unlike with renting, you don’t get to move when a lease is up. And, as we mentioned above, if something breaks it’s up to you to get it fixed. If the thought of planting roots in one place and being your own landlord does not scare you, you may be ready to purchase a condo.
- You don’t mind and may even welcome having neighbors that live close to you.
Unless you move into a house that is a hop, skip, and jump away from neighboring houses, with a condo, you are going to be closer to your neighbors than you would be living in a house. Even if you purchase an end unit condo, you’ll still be sharing space with your neighbors such as a wall and parking area.
If you’re thinking that now may not be the right time for you to purchase a condo and you are instead interested in renting one.